Aug. 4, 2012
LONDON - In a battle between Golden Bear water polo players at the London Olympics, Cal sophomore Aleksa Saponjic's Serbia squad upended former standout John Mann's (2003-06) U.S. squad, 11-6, Saturday (Aug. 4) in Group B action. With the win, Serbia improves to 3-0-1, while Team USA drops to 3-1.
Saponjic and Mann did not score for their teams on Saturday, but Saponjic gathered one steal in 2:15 minutes of action and Mann logged 10:42 for the contest.
Serbia will next battle Romania (1-3) and the United States will take on Hungary (2-2), the 2008 Olympic champions, on Monday, Aug. 6 to wrap-up Group B play. Earlier, Serbia has a 14-10 win over Hungary (July 29), a 21-7 victory over Great Britain (July 31) and an 11-11 tie with Montenegro (Aug. 2). Team USA had defeated Montenegro, 8-7 (July 29); Romania, 10-8 (July 31) and Great Britain, 13-7 (Aug. 2) before Saturday's loss to Serbia.
So far, Mann has tallied two goals in the Olympics - versus Romania and versus Great Britain. Saponjic notched a goal in Serbia's big win over host Great Britain.
Mann helped the Golden Bears to the 2006 NCAA title and was the recipient of the Peter J. Cutino Award as the nation's top collegiate player, while Saponjic was a 2011 honorable mention All-American as a freshman for Cal. They are the first Cal Olympic men's water polo players since four Bears - Gavin Arroyo, Chris Humbert, Sean Nolan and Chris Oeding - were members of the 2000 United States National Team.